Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thanks, But No Thanks.

When you are pregnant or have a new baby, people are quick to share their minds. They hope to be helpful. But it can't be helped that their opinions are oftentimes contrary to your particular parenting philosophy. Their ideas almost always have merit. Yet the soundness of their suggestions does not mitigate the fact that most are unsolicited. Sometimes, their offerings barely hide criticism of how you have chosen to parent your child. I have found that the counsel can be divided into three categories, depending on its particular leaning:


“It won’t kill said child, if she”:

1) has a little sugar/salt/fried food/white bread

2) watches TV

3) has a little whiskey/wine on the gums to get through teething

4) has a little whiskey/wine/oatmeal or rice cereal in the bottle to put her to sleep

5) misses a few naps

6) goes to bed at any hour of the night

7 )sits in a car seat all day

8) sleeps in a crib


“She will be more independent if she”:

1) gets used to a babysitter

2) goes to daycare

3) hangs out in the arms of strangers/gets used to other people

4) is left to cry by herself/cry herself to sleep/learns to self-soothe

5) sleeps in a crib


1) Wouldn’t she sleep at night if you stopped breastfeeding at night?

2) When do you plan to stop breastfeeding?

3) Wouldn’t it be less messy if she ate jarred foods instead of table food?

4) Isn’t she going to choke on that apple/sweet potato fry/green bean?

5) Wouldn’t she sleep better in a crib?

Really, I don't mind the advice. What I do mind is the general lack of openness to my response. I have thought long and hard about all of these topics, and have reasons for my choices that I would be happy to share.

Well, actually, I take that back. There are times I mind the advice: when it is given by someone without children (unless they are or were a nanny). A child in the abstract is a lot different than one in the flesh and blood.

But the reality check of babies and parenthood is a whole nother post entirely.

Photo Source: Daquella mannera, Flickr

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pink Eye and Breast Milk: Panacea

George had some of my breast milk. He put it in his eye. Yes, you read that correctly. He was suffering from pink eye, so I googled “Homeopathic remedies and Conjunctivitis”. Breast milk was listed as a remedy, next to honey, salt and belladonna. We didn’t have any belladonna on hand; however, we were not lacking for breast milk.

So I did some more research, which gave new meaning to the word “nursing”. Evidently, moms have been treating pink eye with breast milk for centuries. Today, even doctors are recommending it. What’s more, breast milk is touted as a cure-all for all kinds of ailments, from ear infections to eczema to minor scraps and scratches. And get this; according to some provocative research out of Scandinavia, it may even cure cancer! These miraculous healing properties are due to the antibodies in breast milk that have been shown to kill bacteria and viruses.

Unfortunately, our own homespun experiment into the curative powers of my particular variety of breast milk didn’t last very long. George quickly abandoned this tactic for a trip to the dark side of Western medicine. Oh, well. I was a bit disappointed. I wasn’t surprised, though. Putting Drano in his eye would have been less complicated than his wife’s breast milk. I also realized that I’ve come as close as I ever will to having a super power! And that if breast milk can do all of those things, imagine what it’s doing for Claire? I may not be restoring George to health or saving Gotham City, but I’m content to stick with growing a healthy baby girl.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Potty City

A Puzzle: The following tale contains public nudity and sneaking through hotels, but is appropriate for a G rated sensibility.

First, some back story: When Claire was about four months old, our meal at a midtown diner was cut short by Claire’s explosive poop and a bathroom not fit for mankind. We hit the pavement with a poo-seeping baby in search of a restroom…

Slinking into the Parker Meridien hotel, I spy the ladies room just left of check-in. Opening the door, we confront an abundance of marble, but no changing table. Deflated, we turn around and run into a woman wearing a tag marked “Marketing Manager”.

“Can I help you?” she asks politely.

I think, “Nailed,”and answer, “No,"with a clip in my voice.

George asks for a bathroom with a changing table.

The woman counters with: “Are you staying in the hotel?”

“Nailed again," I think. “No," I confess.

She leans in and whispers, “Go up to the second floor. It’s quiet. Change her on a bench up there."

We nod in duplicity and head up the stairs briskly. Finding the least obtrusive area, we undress Claire quickly and expedite the damage. People walk by; I smile sheepishly.

I felt like I was dealing drugs or something. I started wondering why babies in public cause such a stir. I often find myself feeling apologetic when Claire is breastfeeding or is just plain loud in the public realm. Babies spend much of their lives sleeping, eating, pooping and screaming. Everyone finds a sleeping baby cute; pretty much everything else seems up for grabs. Come on, even Kim Kardashian got into the mix with her tweet opposing public breastfeeding.

Babies seem to remind us of our impulses, of baser needs and desires that we all wish to remain hidden. I remember reading somewhere that many theaters in the 1900’s were built without ladies’ room. It was considered unseemly that women peed!

The 21st century attitude towards babies is similar. If you ask me, this mind-set is our problem not a baby’s. I wish that Claire and her kind could be who they are in all their glory with no added eyebrow-raisings.

But then again, Claire is my child. And her poop smells like roses to me. Well, not really, but you get the point.
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